How Giant Food Stores is Attracting Families with AR and Experiences

Jamie Grill-Goodman
Editor in Chief
Jamie goodman

As improving the retail experience weighs on many grocers’ minds, GIANT Food Stores has recently made two moves to attract families to its grocery stores.

Over the holiday season, the Ahold Delhaize USA-owned retailer introduced a kid-friendly augmented reality (AR) experience in 15 Harrisburg, PA, area stores, and opened The Berenstain Bears Treehouse at its flagship store in Camp Hill, PA.

Customers are able to use their smartphones at select stores to play GIANT’S Snowflake Search, a new interactive game designed to engage and entertain children during their visit to the grocery store during the holidays. The activity also offered customers the opportunity to earn up to 300 GIANT Choice Rewards points per game and a total of 1500 points through January 30.

GIANT’S Snowflake Search was developed in collaboration with Schiefer Chopshop, an Irvine, CA.-based media and creative agency. The retailer said it is believed to be the first web-based application of augmented reality in this capacity by a US grocery retailer. While other companies are using AR to provide information on products, GIANT is harnessing the technology to add fun to an everyday task.

“As a parent, I know firsthand how challenging a trip to the grocery store can be with young children, especially during the holiday season,” said Kimberly Mack, manager of digital strategy and media, GIANT Food Stores. “Our Snowflake Search game delivers on our commitment to innovation and our promise to the families we serve by making the weekly task of grocery shopping a bit more fun for our younger customers and a bit easier for mom and dad, too.”

To play GIANT’S Snowflake Search, customers scan a QR code on special in-store signage with their smartphones. An audio introduction by a snowman will direct users to search for six unique snowflake signs throughout the store. Each snowflake triggers an interactive character surprise on their phone, like a polar bear juggling clementines and bananas in the fruit section. Customers are able to track the characters they’ve already found and access hints to find the remaining ones.

Shoppers who use the AR experience also have the opportunity to earn exclusive rewards. Members of GIANT Choice Rewards will earn 50 points for each character found, with the ability to earn a total of up to 300 points each time they play – up to five games. Points can be redeemed for discounts on gas (100 points = $0.10 discount per gallon up to 25 gallons) or be converted to dollars to save directly on their total bill or for bonus offers, such as discounted or free products.

“At GIANT, we’re always looking for ways to deepen our relationships with our customers as well as ways to create an exciting and unique shopping experience inside our stores,” said Mack. “By incorporating GIANT Choice Rewards into our Snowflake Search experience, we’re able to provide our digitally engaged customers with a fun and easy way to earn valuable rewards, which we think will be especially appreciated during the holiday season.”

In addition to the AR experience, the new Berenstain Bears Treehouse, brings two local brands together to inspire the curiosity and creativity of children. The Berenstain Bears stories, first created in the 1960s by Philadelphians Stan and Jan Berenstain, offer simple solutions to timeless challenges faced by everyday families.

“Simplifying the shopping experience for the busy families we serve, so they have time to focus on what matters most—each other—is a constant priority for our team,” said Nicholas Bertram, president, GIANT Food Stores. “Since being introduced in 2005, our Treehouse space has been a safe and fun place for kids to be kids, one that parents can feel good about their kids being in as they shop, and that’s something we’re very proud to be able to offer families. A renowned Pennsylvania brand, The Berenstain Bears were a natural fit for us as we began to reimagine this space because for more than 50 years, they’ve helped create strong families and communities through their books.”

The new Berenstain Bears Treehouse at GIANT encourages imaginative play in an environment that inspires healthy eating, physical fitness and good health practices. The space also includes a reading nook, an area for coloring, and free healthy fruit.

The Treehouse’s three play areas each feature a different Berenstain Bears story.
In the mini GIANT (The Berenstain Bears Go Grocery Shopping), young customers can choose healthy play foods from the shelves, scan items at working self-checkouts and cook pretend meals. In an outdoor-themed space with a teepee (The Berenstain Bears Blaze a Trail), kids are encouraged to get moving as they complete different activities to earn their Tree House Merit Badge. In the health and wellness area (The Berenstain Bears Go to the Doctor), children can play with a stethoscope, explore the systems of the body and learn ways to stay healthy.

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